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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Is Extortion Part of Its Anti-Piracy Campaign?

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is well aware of the Windows platform being very popular among software pirates. Software privacy has been a huge problem over the years and it seems to get worse, so Microsoft has been working on an anti-piracy campaign using local law enforcement and a group called the Business Software Alliance.  Microsoft works to track where pirated or bogus software is found, and the company has been known to conduct raids of businesses known to have the software, and the company will threaten to take computers and servers away unless the company pays a fine.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)But is what Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) does legal? Or is it extortion? One Latin American business is standing up to Microsoft after a recent software raid, and is suing Redmond, the Business Software Alliance and others for “extortion-like” behaviors during the raid, which the company said was “unwarranted” because the business had proof of purchasing the software.

The company is called Seguros Universales, one of the biggest insurance agencies in Guatemala. The company is suring Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for its recent raid, in which Redmond was alleged to have demanded $70,o00 as “fine” on the spot or the company’s entire computer network would be dismantled and the servers seized. Seguros is aggressively defending itself, not only saying the raid was invalid in the first place because the firm could produce receipts for almost all of the software licensing fees, but it is going a step further in charging Microsoft with a racketeering operation with companies that use the Windows software.

But this does not appear to be an isolated incident, as there was a 10-year legal battle in Belgium involving a Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) raid that has similar circumstances. A Belgian printing company was raided by Microsoft, the BSA and local law-enforcement 10 years ago, and a $40,000 demand was made  in exchange for the computers and servers. The owner of the company paid the money, but later sued saying the raid was a “deceptive” practice. After the protracted legal fight, an appeals court in Belgium sided with the Belgian print shop after it was established that the raid was unwarranted because the print shop’s licenses were valid. As a result of the case, the BSA now sends letters in advance, warning companies that a raid may be coming.

What do you think about Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) undergoing these anti-piracy raids? Do you think they are necessary, or do you tink ther is another way for these crimes to be handled? Let us know in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: None

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